Jennifer B, Cona, ESQ., Managing Parter,
Genser Cona Elder Law
April 2019’s CEO Brief features Jennifer Cona, Managing Partner of Genser Cona Elder Law – Melville , NY. Genser Cona Elder Law is an award winning law firm based in Melville, Long Island. Their practice concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care law and in 2019 was the winner at HIA-LI’s 24th Annual Business Achievement Awards in the category of Small Business on Long Island.
Tell us about how you started.
I started a solo Elder Law practice in Manhattan 21 years ago. My practice grew quite quickly and I made many connections on Long Island after signing up my first consortium of health care facility clients located on Long Island. I started pounding the pavement through various business networking groups and took every opportunity to meet people for breakfasts, lunches and dinners every day of the week. It was a very busy time but I met great people, found wonderful resources and learned how to navigate the Long Island business community.
Since that time, my strategy and growth philosophy has been “slow and steady wins the race.” I’ve grown the firm organically, nurturing talent and promoting from within whenever possible. I like to hire law school students who can be groomed while also proving themselves before we commit to hiring them as new attorneys after the bar exam. We are now a team of 14 attorneys and a staff of 40 people in total.
What was a turning point for your firm?
A turning point came when I decided to hire a PR firm. I realized that I could be the best Elder Law attorney out there but if no one knew about me and the unique services my firm was offering, how was I going to help people? At the time, law firms were not run like businesses and I really did not know what PR was or how it could work for a law firm. But I followed my gut which was telling me this was the right move to make to grow my practice. I connected with a great PR person and as a team, we grew the practice by 300% in the first year. We worked together for the next 16 years until she retired.
What is your philosophy at Genser Cona Elder Law?
We treat clients like we would treat our own family members. We analyze every case and course of action by asking: “What would I do if it was my loved one?” This keeps our attorneys and staff grounded, keeps us compassionate and empathetic and allows us to feel really good about what we do every day. Elder Law is a caring field and our attorneys are passionate and have an innate desire to serve the older population. We care for multiple generations in almost every case. We take a big picture view of each situation and help with more than just the legal issues. We help clients navigate caregiver issues, family dynamics, financial matters and other practical issues. We opened a Caregiver Resource Center in our Suffolk office for just this purpose. Our ultimate goal is to work together with both families and health care facilities to sustain quality care for older adults.